Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals: (Bernstein)
Ruth and Naomi Segal, pianos; soloists; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, cond. Columbia/CBS/Sony, recorded Aprl 9, 1962
7 - 25 Saint-Saëns_ Carnival Of The Animals - Aquarium
January 6, 2013
An excellent choice!
Summary: a good choice all round.
When one is deciding on a recording of these three often-teamed-together works, the principal criterion is the quality of the narration. At least, this was the case for me. When I had watched a few of Bernstein's Young People's Concerts on DVD (via Netflix), I was convinced that Bernstein's charm and persuasive charm would probably trump everything else.
To my surprise, I found the very CD sitting unopened in my collection. I just played it a few minutes ago, and I have to unequivocally state that Leonard Bernstein does a fabulous job with absolutely all aspects of the first two works (Prokofiev's Peter, and Saint-Seans's Carnival). Bernstein's humor is universal; at least, it seems to to us on the East Coast.
As a bonus, he has some very young performers joining the NY Philharmonic on the Carnival of the Animals, including a very young Paula Robeson, who has subsequently become a widely recorded flutist.
I must confess that practically all personalities narrating on recordings of these works, from David Attenborough to David Bowie to Dame Edna Everage to Boris Karloff have done a brilliant job. But Bernstein's version is likely to tolerate repeated listenings a lot better.